Astros Needed Shot In The Arm

added 09/01/2017 by Bob Hulsey

Welcome to WaterWorld, Justin Verlander. Pardon the mess but the City of Houston has been waiting for you with open arms. And not just because of those flotation devices your girlfriend has with her. Baseball fans, and possibly the entire Southeast Texas region, has been awaiting a savior. You're the closest they'll find.

Pity Motown - losing two Uptons in one day *plus* a former Cy Young Award winner. Bummer.

I know the "Cardinal Way" which became the "Astro Way" says you don't trade hot prospects for guys on the wrong side of 30, particularly ones with budget-busting contracts, but this was the deal Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow needed to make or watch a team thought most of the season to be the league's best flop in the ALDS just as they did two years ago.

Facts are facts. The Astros have been a .500 team since July 1st. What once was exciting has become sad, tired and listless. Meanwhile, the Houston area has suffered through another sweltering, sticky summer before The Weekend God Forgot To Turn Off The Faucet otherwise known as Hurricane Harvey.

Houston needed something to blow past the doldrums; something to give them some hope again; something they weren't getting from Charlie Morton or Mike Fiers.

In short, the Astros needed something that would recapture the swagger and the excitement. It may seem odd to find it in someone who has only been a 20-game winner once in his career, whose best days may be behind him but Verlander was the last true upgrade on the market and the Astros almost ran out the clock before finally clinching the deal for three high prospects in the final hour.

The Virginian is 6-0 in postseason play where his Tigers won. He's 1-5 in series his team lost. But, throughout, he has never won a Worlds Championship which is why I think he finally waived his no-trade clause to come to soggy Houston. This may be his last, best chance to win a Worlds Series and fulfill a Hall of Fame career. He comes to Houston with Roger Clemens' street cred.

A big game rotation of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers (or Brad Peacock if they want to get creative), now looks a lot better as Verlander, Keuchel and either McHugh or McCullers holding the fort until the bats come alive. The Astros have a lot of arms for their rotation but none, not even Keuchel, who can match the cache Justin Verlander brings.

Carlos Beltran's postseason experience will count a lot when the playoffs arrive. Fellow countryman Carlos Correa, who should be back soon and expected to get the offense rocking again, will particularly benefit from the veteran's leadership. Now the pitchers will have their guy to look up to in crunch time.

Three good prospects and a wad of money was a solid trade in return for rescuing a season fading fast. 25 guys playing for a whole region's pride can be motivated by more than just themselves. To believe in themselves, they needed to add a guy like Verlander to the mix.